In Short, Read These

This year, we’ve seen a lot of quality novels, but we’ve also seen some notable short story collections and anthologies.’  Short story collections might not sell huge numbers, but they do provide for worthy discussions and make a great choice for both teens and librarians who are short on time but want an enjoyable, complete story.’  I’ve been a big fan of short stories all my life, from fairy tales to Shirley Jackson to Margo Lanagan.’ ‘  Here are some books that will both complete and diversify your collection.

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Banned Books Week: Practical Applications

It’s not too late to celebrate Banned Books Week with teens at your library!’ ‘ ‘ Here are some ideas to get teens thinking and talking about banned books:

  1. Create your own banned books booklist, or’ order the ALA Banned Books List 07-08.’  Display these booklists near your reference desk and encourage discussion.’  One classic exchange I had with a teen went like this:’ a teen approached the desk and’ casually glanced over’ at’ our Banned Books Week list.’  She asked, “What’s a banned book?”‘  I explained.’  The teen’s face crinkled up and she asked, incredulously, “If people don’t like the books, why don’t they just not read them?”‘  Great question!’  Off-the-cuff discussions at our reference desk, with both teens and their parents, have’ been the most rewarding way for me to inform patrons about banned books. ‘ You might also tuck these booklists into the challenged books that are sitting on your shelves, to create awareness among those teens who are hesitant to approach staff.
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The Teens’ Top Ten: Marketing, Reading, and Voting

Teen Read Week is getting closer every day and with it the vote to decide which of the 26 nominees will be named the Teens’ Top Ten 2008.

The Teens’ Top Ten is a booklist which is a teen choice list. Fifteen groups, known as YA Galley groups, read young adult literature all year long to narrow down the best of the best in teen books. Teens from the groups have to nominate books that will be on the final list. This year 26 titles made the final cut. Out of these 26 titles, teens all over the country get to choose the Teens’ Top Ten.

Why is this project important? Hey, this is teens’ turn to tell the young adult book industry what they are looking for in their books. Continue reading

YALSA President’s Program, ALA annual 2006

It took me a whole week to sort through my thoughts and notes for the YALSA President’s Program! Here they are at last.

The YALSA President’s Program kicked off Monday afternoon June 26 with Pam Spencer Holly and Beth Yoke delivering highlights from the past year (did you know YALSA is the fastest growing division in ALA? 😉 It’s really amazing that not only has membership increased by 10%, but 25% of YALSA members are student members. Could a student interest group be in the works?

The President’s 2005-2006 Report was well-organized and reflects accomplishments that align with the YALSA Strategic Plan.

I think Pam was so eager to pass over her presidential gavel to incoming president Judy Nelson that she forgot to mention an item on the agenda – Friends of YALSA. The website shows that YALSA only has 18 friends! I slipped a form to my boss, and I think I can get my mom to contribute too – who can YOU ask?

2007 sounds like it will be as busy as 2006! Tons of events are in the works as YALSA turns 50, Teen Tech Week lauches, and much, much more.

Judy Nelson announced a return to our roots with the theme of her presidency, “Still Reading After All These Years,” a focus on the wonderful rich and diverse world of our beloved YA literature. Very fitting, and smart, in light of the recent misconceptions of YA novels as fluff and nonsense.

Appropriately, the program that followed the membership meeting was all about the Renaissance of YA Literature, and a sequel to a program 10 years ago on the same topic: What’s so Adult about Young Adult? The afternoon was a celebration of crossover titles including the likes of Weetzie Bat (the original crossover novel) Perks of Being a Wallflower, and more. I missed the names of some of the speakers, so thanks in advance for any corrections you guys who attended can contribute.

Author and YA lit critic Michael Cart (Booklist’s “Carte Blanche” column, My Father’s Scar, and editor of Rush Hour, who convened the original program on this topic, gave a brief history of crossover novels, lamenting that titles so appropriate for teens are published as adult for (mostly) economic reasons, and commenting on the lack of adult recognition of the value of YA lit, stated of those who think that YA lit is “the stuff of Sweet Valley High, more the fools, they.”

What makes a crossover title? They share several traits:

  • first novels
  • young authors
  • coming of age theme (teen protagonist)
  • incorporate the mysterious, puzzling, and enigmatic

Next, a publisher spoke (missed her name!), sharing the stat that of the top 50 bestselling juvenile titles, 9 are (currently YA titles), and explaining a little about why editors publish young adult books under adult imprints.

Author Aidan Chambers (This is All, Postcards from No Man’s Land) offered the British perspective with humor and aplomb, quoting Shakespeare, poking fun at himself and explaining his position on the “life follows art” theory.

Author Greg Galloway (As Simple as Snow) followed, and discussed literature as types of glass – the transparent “windex” kind popularized by the likes of Dan Brown, and the more complex stained glass kind in which literary greats such as Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Chandler delight in use of language.

Sheila (Scofield? sorry Sheila!) provided the librarian in the field point of view, speaking about the gamut of authors and formats and genres teens ask for. She recommended promoting adult titles to young adults and young adult titles to adults by incorporating them into displays and booklists recommending YA titles to librarians serving adults, and asking the adult services librarians to recommend crossovers.” Promoting teen lit IS advocacy for teens, she said; her top suggestions are

Pretties/Uglies/Specials by Scott Westerfield
I is Someone Else by Patrick Cooper
titles by Marcus Zusak
Feed by M.T. Anderson

She concluded by reminding us that authors tell stories; they don’t write for a selected audience, and quoted Ranganathan: “Every reader has his or her book; Every book has its reader.” The concept was followed up in the Q&A period when one of the panelists reminded us that the readership of a book is one (the original Long Tail?).

Three excellent booklists distributed at this program are online at http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/annual.htm

~posted by Beth Gallaway

Stay Tuned – Awards and Lists

Monday, January 23 is the date for the press conference where the Michael L. Printz Award, among others, will be announced. Do you have ideas what it will be?

Also at the Midwinter Conference the selection committees will be completing their work in order to publish their annual lists. This includes Quick Picks for Young Adult Readers, Popular Paperbacks, Best Books, and Selected Audio Books.

Stay tuned on this blog for more information on the midwinter conference, awards, and lists.